ASH Daily news for 04 January 2016



HEADLINES

  • E-cigarettes win first approval as a ‘medicine’ opening way for prescription by the NHS
  • Government accused of launching ‘attack on local democracy’ with new council investment rule
  • London: Smokers back crackdown on illegal tobacco
  • E-cigarettes may be ‘no better’ than regular cigarettes
  • ‘Smoker’s cough’ should not be ignored as it could be a sign of chronic lung disease
  • Scotland: SNP Business Minister’s investments linked to ‘Big Tobacco’
  • E-cigs could stub out smoking in prisons and end traditional currency of ‘snouts’
  • A knighthood for Lynton Crosby: government under fire for political honours
  • EU: Regulations on e-cigs ‘a step closer’
  • US: Teen smokers may be hard-wired to crave cigarettes
  • US: Buying a house from a smoker could prove dangerous for your health, study finds
  • Australia: Smokers win out over outside diners at some pubs and bars: health groups
  • Canada: Ontario bans sale of e-cigarettes to people under 19
  • US: Hawaii becomes first state to raise smoking age to 21

    E-cigarettes win first approval as a ‘medicine’ opening way for prescription by the NHS

    E-cigarettes have been granted a licence by Britain’s medicines regulator for the first time, opening the door for them to be prescribed on the NHS.

    The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has awarded a licence to BAT’s subsidiary Nicovations Ltd, for its e-Voke device that will allow it to be marketed as a smoking cessation aid.

    See also:
    – E-cigarettes to be available on NHS prescription with one of world’s biggest tobacco firms lined up as first supplier, Daily Mail
    – First licensed e-cigarettes to become available on NHS, Yahoo!/IBT

    Source: Telegraph – 03 January 2016
    Link: http://bit.ly/1ZK54Xa

    Government accused of launching ‘attack on local democracy’ with new council investment rule

    The Government has been accused of launching a “direct attack on local democracy” by preparing to slip through Parliament an unprecedented curb on councils divesting from trade and investments they regard as unethical.

    Councillors, MPs and a wide range of NGOs fear that the move, which they complain will be forced through the Commons without proper scrutiny, could stop local authorities refusing to trade with, or include in their pension fund portfolios, companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products and Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    Ministers are consulting on changes to pensions regulations and are preparing new procurement guidelines to stop town halls operating “municipal foreign and defence policies” through “politically motivated boycott and divestment campaigns… against UK defence companies and against Israel”. A 2007 survey of local authorities showed that they were investing £300m in BAE alone.

    See also:
    – The only way is ethics over pension funds for Cheshire councillors, Chester Standard

    Source: The Independent – 26 December 2015
    Link: http://ind.pn/1RZgvZJ

    London: Smokers back crackdown on illegal tobacco

    A crackdown on illegal tobacco is being backed by smokers themselves in a new report that suggests attitudes to contraband sales are changing.

    While health experts say the message that all tobacco kills should remain clear, 60% of 1,200 smokers surveyed said that something should be done to stop cheap tobacco being sold.

    And 56% said they agreed cheap tobacco made it easier for children to start smoking, while more than half (52%) agreed it made it harder for any smoker to give up.

    The results of the joint survey – commissioned by seven London boroughs’ trading standards and public health departments – were published as many thousands of smokers strive to kick the habit this New Year.

    Source: Western Daily Press – 04 January 2016
    Link: http://bit.ly/1RZgNjk

    E-cigarettes may be ‘no better’ than regular cigarettes

    The e-cigarette could be “no better” than traditional cigarettes, according to a new study.

    Research published in the Journal of Oral Oncology claims to have demonstrated that vapour from the electronic devices may damage DNA or even kill human cells in laboratory experiments.

    The study, which its authors admit is inconclusive, comes after public health officials in Europe, the US and the UK have backed the use of e-cigarettes to help people quit smoking.

    Source: The Guardian – 30 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1RZh2uH

    ‘Smoker’s cough’ should not be ignored as it could be a sign of chronic lung disease

    Health officials have urged people not to ignore “smoker’s cough” as it could be a sign of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is incurable.

    New figures from Public Health England (PHE) have revealed more than one million people in the UK are living with COPD – the umbrella term for conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It can cause breathlessness as well as difficulty doing everyday activities such as climbing the stairs.

    Of the 25,000 deaths from the disease occurring in England each year, almost 90 per cent are caused by smoking. And between 2013 and 2014, COPD led to more than 113,000 emergency hospital visits, according to Health & Social Care Information Centre.

    See also:
    – Lung diseases highlighted in powerful campaign by North Somerset Council, Cheddar Valley Gazette
    – Herts County Council spearheads campaign against 1,500 ‘needless deaths’ from smoking each year, Herts and Essex Observer

    Source: The Independent – 29 December 2015
    Link: http://ind.pn/1RZh6dQ

    Scotland: SNP Business Minister’s investments linked to ‘Big Tobacco’

    Scotland’s Business Minister has been criticised after he bought nearly £50,000 in shares in an investment trust heavily linked to tobacco companies.

    Fergus Ewing registered the total value of the investments last month, despite the SNP Government taking a tough anti-smoking line.

    Ewing’s financial advisers manage the portfolio on his behalf, but he could set the ethical parameters of his investments.

    Source: Herald Scotland – 03 January 2016
    Link: http://bit.ly/1RZhGIE

    E-cigs could stub out smoking in prisons and end traditional currency of ‘snouts’

    The tradition of prison smoking is being stubbed out thanks to e-cigarettes being sold in jails nationwide.

    Prisoners bought 40,000 fewer packs of cigarettes and tobacco last month than in December last year, new figures show.

    This could also suggest the end is nigh for the age old tradition of cigarettes being used as jail currency.

    Source: Daily Mirror – 26 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1RZhWr7

    A knighthood for Lynton Crosby: government under fire for political honours

    The government has been accused of turning the honours system into an “old boy’s club” after Lynton Crosby, the political strategist who ran the Conservatives’ 2015 election campaign, was awarded a knighthood.

    Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, said that “quite apart from his dubious role in the 2015 election”, Crosby should have be ruled out because of his close links to the tobacco industry.

    Source: The Guardian – 30 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1RZiHAn

    EU: Regulations on e-cigs ‘a step closer’

    New regulations on e-cigarettes included in the revised Tobacco Products Directive have taken a step closer to being introduced after a legal challenge against the measures was rejected by a senior EU legal officer.

    Juliane Kokott, advocate general to the European Court of Justice, described the proposals, which would place restrictions on e-cig nicotine strengths and advertising, as “relatively moderate” and not in breach of EU law.

    It came in response to a legal challenge headed by e-cig manufacturer Totally Wicked, which had claimed that article 20 of the new TPD was illegal under European law.

    It includes measures to ban vaping products containing more than 20mg of nicotine, adding health warnings on packs, and banning advertising. A final ruling is expected early this year.

    See also:
    – New laws on e-cigarettes to be introduced across EU, BBC News [includes video]
    – 
    Use e-cigarettes? The laws are changing…, Metro

    Source: Better Retailing – 04 January 2016
    Link: http://bit.ly/1RZig9h

    US: Teen smokers may be hard-wired to crave cigarettes

    Teen smokers might crave nicotine in part because their brains respond differently than adults to seeing people light up, a small study by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign suggests.

    To see if young minds might be hard-wired to desire cigarettes, researchers did magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of teens and adults – including smokers and nonsmokers – who watched videos of adolescents and young adults smoking.

    With teen smokers in particular, researchers saw heightened responses in brain regions rich in the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical that modulates pleasure and reward centers and helps regulate emotions.

    Source: Reuters – 30 December 2015
    Link: http://reut.rs/1RZiZYb

    US: Buying a house from a smoker could prove dangerous for your health, study finds

    Buying a home from a smoker could increase the risk of cancer as third-hand smoke is almost impossible to remove from carpets, curtains and walls, a new study suggests.

    Scientists found that exposure to the toxic chemicals that infiltrate the home could be particularly dangerous for young children prone to explore and put things in their mouths. They said third-hand smoke residue could be absorbed into almost any porous surface, which then leaked out over time.

    Dr Georg Matt, a psychologist from San Diego State University in the US who has studied the effects of third-hand smoke for 20 years, said: “Homes become reservoirs of tobacco smoke pollutants.

    Source: Telegraph – 01 January 2016
    Link: http://bit.ly/1RZjwJD

    Australia: Smokers win out over outside diners at some pubs and bars: health groups

    New anti-smoking laws covering outdoor dining areas could have made this Sydney’s healthiest summer ever. But health groups have warned that in some venues across New South Wales, food-free outdoor smoking areas are being prioritised over keeping food on the table.

    In July 2015 new laws came into effect banning smoking in commercial outdoor dining areas across NSW. This includes at restaurants, cafes and licensed venues such as bars and pubs.

    But there’s a catch. Smoking is still permitted provided venues do not serve food and cannot be considered “commercial dining areas” under the new laws.

    Such an option would prove difficult for restaurants and cafes. But some bars and pubs have opted to ban food in outdoor areas – and allow patrons to keep smoking.

    Source: The Guardian – 25 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1RZjGR6

    Canada: Ontario bans sale of e-cigarettes to people under 19

    A law banning the sale of e-cigarettes to people to under the age of 19 has gone into effect in Ontario.

    Electronic cigarettes are now treated in the same way as cigarettes in the Canadian province that includes Toronto. The law also bans the sale of flavored tobacco.

    A ban on smoking e-cigarettes in public spaces and workplaces was also supposed to go into effect on Friday, but Ontario’s Associate Health Minister Dipika Damerla says it will be delayed until later in the year. She did not provide a reason for the delay.

    Source: Daily Mail – 01 January 2016
    Link: http://dailym.ai/1RZjLnT

    US: Hawaii becomes first state to raise smoking age to 21

    Hawaii has become the first state to raise the smoking age to 21.

    The new law — which went into effect Jan. 1 — bans those under 21 from buying tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.

    Most smokers start smoking before age 21, and about half become daily smokers before 18, the Hawaii State Department of Health said in a press release.

    While smoking has decreased greatly in Hawaii, use of e-cigarettes is on the rise. 22% of high school students have tried e-cigarettes, compared with only 5% in 2011, according to the same release.

    The act is an effort to reverse this trend by making e-cigarettes less accessible and less attractive.

    Source: USA Today – 02 January 2016
    Link: http://usat.ly/1RZjXU5